Commissioner Kelly Has No Time For
The Haitian Community
From the Haitian
Shortly after the police had gunned down Patrick Dorismond in 2000,
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani found himself in a quagmire. No one from the
Haitian community wanted to meet with him after he demonized the dead
man by insinuating that Dorismond was responsible for his death after
he fought with an undercover police officer who had offered to sell
The community was so indignant about the incident and its aftermath
that no leader wanted to meet unless Giuliani apologized. Of course,
he refused and hence a standoff. But at one point when the anger against
the mayor was seething outside the minority communities, he needed to
meet. Giuliani ambushed a group of clergy leaders inviting them to meet
with police Commissioner Howard Safir. Giuliani just happened to be
in the vicinity and Dropped in. Quickly recognizing a set-up, many of
the ministers walked out.
The Dorismond shooting was a bad one for the New York Police
Department, and it needed allies. Now, the shooting of Georgy Louisgene
is considered a good one for the department. Police officials
did a good job convincing the mainstream media that Louisgene was somehow
a knife-wielding mad man, who was speaking Jamaican and
refused to put down his weapon. Officers said they had to shoot him
because they had no other choice. Case closed.
We believe that the officers, who fired eight bullets, used excessive
force in the case. But what we find even more troubling is that newly
appointed police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has rebuffed the Haitian
communitys overture to talk about the Louisgene case and other
issues affecting the Haitian community.
Last week, through a secretary, Kelly told a group of Haitian organizations
that he was too busy to meet with them. We suppose that he can take
such an attitude at this time because once again, this was a good
shooting. When a bad one occurs Kelly will be calling and
looking for anyone to talk to so his department can say that it reached
out to the community.
Kelly went to Haiti in 1994 and helped set up the current police force
there. His appointment was seen as a positive side for many in the community.
But in his first test he failed miserably. A survey conducted shortly
after the Dorismond shooting revealed that a great majority of Haitians
felt that the police stopped them because they are black and are abused
because they are Haitians.
These are not things to be taken lightly. There is deep
resentment of the police in the Haitian community. It came to a head
with the Abner Louima case and continues to this day. These are the
issues we want to find solutions to.
But Kelly is too busy to talk about them until the fire next time.